Magadha Empire – Bunch of lessons to be learnt

As per the epics, Shishunaga’s dynasty ruled Magadha empire around 20 – 18th century BC. But western historians documented period of Buddha according to their wish. They masked out few centuries of our history.


Ancient India empire involved many small independent republic states. They were peaceful, thinking about their development of their states. An able king used to rule others by capturing them. They used to spread their empire conducting ‘Ashwamedha’ yaga. Kings was expected to accept their supremacy. Going against it caused battles. But these battles never affected the common mass. Common man never knew the concept of Conversion. A king used to support all the races and never forced anyone to follow a race of his own. The concept of expansion though Conversion was developed by Western countries.

Yet, the fact is that the officers who was of the race as that of King used to enjoy the special treatment. Not only Jains or Buddhists even Brahmins tried to draw the attention of King though the races and religion. We observe a King as a Jain and also as Buddhist in their respective literature! It will not be a difficult task to get the clarity on the incidents of history keeping these facts in mind.

History states that Magadha was the first empire to built it supremacy over many other states. As per the epics Magadha empire started in the beginning of Kali Yuga. Brihadratha and their successors ruled at first, then Pradyodathas. Then Shishunaga dynasty ruled then after. Bimisara was one of the king.

He played a major role in expanding the Magadha empire. He married from neighbouring states. He suppressed many through his power. He had many wives and hence any issues between his sons was counted as the issues within the family. The main gate of his capital city; Rajagriha used to get closed every evening. Any of the kings was not allowed to enter the after the gate is closed! Thus, capturing the states the empire expanded all over the country.

Siddhartha met him 7 years prior becoming Gautham Buddha. He was impressed by Buddha and wished to keep with him. Later when Buddha enters his capital he served all Buddhists and also donated a garden to them. He exempted the fair for Buddhists cross the Ganga river via boats. His 4th wife Khema has a major role in influencing Bimbisara towards Buddhism.

Chetaka’s daugheter from Licchavi won the heart of Bimbisara and made him get influenced towards Mahavira. She took him for Mahavira’s worship during the winter season states the Jain historians.

We do not have a solid evidence for which religion does he belong but the fact is that he was very much influenced by his wives.He was frustrated since his sons fought for the power. Finally his son Ajathashatru, gained the throne through his powers. Even father promised him to make him the successor. But he was impatient, he couldn’t wait too long! He imprisoned his father and sat in the throne. Buddhists states that Bimbisara was killed in the prison. Jains states that Ajathashatru was not the reason for it!

Ajathashatru’s first battle was against Kosala. It was his father’s father in law’s country. It was ruled by Prasenajita. It was a fierce battle and Ajathashatru won. But Kosala’s soldiers deceivingly captured him and took him as captive to Prasenajita. Both experienced loss and victory equally.

Magadha empire was expanding. Ajathashatru grew stronger. He waged a war against Licchavi. It was not an easy task. At the same time Chetaka, Kosala, Kashi states came together to fight against him. Buddha who was preaching spirituality also supported and stood with Licchavi. He preached the policies to be united. ‘Organize seminars on a larger scale, try to avoid internal conflicts, do not encourage revolutionary rules and regulations, respect the ancient culture, protect ancient temple, women and elders’ – thus he gave ideas to kings to grew stronger themselves. It is impossible for an enemy to defeat such an empire said Buddha.
Does any of the politician who claims as follower of Buddha follow the preachings of Buddha? Their primary goal is to destroy unity. They do not show respect towards ancient saints, temples.

Ajathashatru knew the strength of Licchavi. He nominated his minister; Vasmakara for the destruction for unity. It was the effort of 3 long years. He was successful in creating the enmity among the society. Created difference between rich and poor, people of different religion and races.

Ajathashatru started building a new capital in Pataliputra. It was one of the step towards preparation for the battle. He built a strong fort over there. He experimented new methods in preparation of arms and ammunition. He created a huge weapons which throws huge boulders similar to Bofors, automated chariots which destroyed the enemies similar to the modern battle tankers!

It was the time when Licchavi was weaken internally and Magadha grew stronger. Wit the same thought he attacked Licchavi with his huge army. Due to their internal conflicts Ajathashatru easily defeated them.

Just think. History repeats. NGOs, Media, Missionaries from outside come here to weaken the society by creating the conflicts. Can’t we see that? Thus divided, weaken society cannot China and not even Pakistan!
Ajathashatru had to face united Licchavi, Chetaka, Kosala and Kashi. His spent is lifetime more in these battles. Yet, he faced he defeated all of them and built a strong Magadha empire.

Buddhists and Jains claim that Ajathashatru belonged to their religion. We already saw that Jains states that he was not the reason for his fathers death. But many literature states the actually hated Buddhism.

There are reasons too. Devadutta who hated Buddha was close to him. Based on his advice it is said that he imprisoned and killed his father. Now, he tried to kill Buddha based on the advice of Devadutta. Somehow, he changed his mind and fell at the feet of Buddha. Once he came to see Buddha with his doctor. The silence moved his mind. He doubted on his doctor and asked was their anyone who captures him. He was shocked to observe the silence amongst thousands of Bikshus. He experienced peace at the feet of Buddha. He was mentally weaken due to his father’s murder. Buddha preached him the peace of mind. He became a kid in front of Buddha in spite being a warrior. He found peace of mind but he felt guilty. For the first time he said ‘How nice it would be his son being peaceful as a Bikshu?’

As per the epics, Shishunaga’s dynasty ruled Magadha empire around 20 – 18th century BC. But western historians documented period of Buddha according to their wish. They masked out few centuries of our history.

Do not forget Prasenajita of Kosala. He has respect and love towards Shakya race of Buddha. He desired to marry woman of Shakya race. He talked to the elders. They couldn’t reject the offerings of the King at the same time they couldn’t accept. They deceived him. They got an woman who was a slave stating that she belong to Shakya. They got married. Vidudakha was his son. Later he became aware of the truth. He got raged and he left his wife and son. Again Buddha consoled and made them united. Then it started the conflicts within the family. It was not tolerable for people that Prasenajita being with Buddha always. His prime minister revolted.

While Prasenajita spent his most of the time with Buddha Vidudakha was declared as new king. Prasenajita went to Ajathashatru seeking his help. He died at the gates of Rajagriha.

Vidudakhaw attacked kingdom of Shakya. He killed Shakyas barbarously. He might have been disturbed since his mother was deceived. The race which gifted the great spiritual leader was thus destroyed.

One thought on “Magadha Empire – Bunch of lessons to be learnt

  1. ಆತ್ಮೀಯ ಚಕ್ರವರ್ತಿ ಸೂಲಿಬೆಲಿ ರವರೆ…

    ನಾನು ನಿಮ್ಮ ಅಂಕಣಗಳ ಓದುಗಾರ, ನಿಮ್ಮ ಬರಹಗಳಿಂದ ನಾನು ನನ್ನ ಜ್ಞಾನದ ಮಟ್ಟವನ್ನು ಹೆಚ್ಚಿಸಿಕೊಳ್ಳಲು ಬಲು ಸಹಕಾರಿಯಾಗಿದೆ. ನಿಮ್ಮ ಉಪನ್ಯಾಸವನ್ನು ಸಹ ಕೇಳುತ್ತೇನೆ, ಆದರೆ ತಾವು ಇತ್ತೀಚೆಗೆ ಆಂಗ್ಲದಲ್ಲಿ ಅಂಕಣಗಳನ್ನು ಬರೆಯುತ್ತಿರುವುದರಿಂದ ನಮಗೆ ಓದಲು ಸಾಧ್ಯವಾಗುತ್ತಿಲ್ಲ. ಕನ್ನಡದಲ್ಲಿದರೆ ಅಂಕಣಗಳನ್ನು ಸರಾಗವಾಗಿ ಒಂದೇ ಗುಟುಕಿನಲ್ಲಿ ಓದಬಹುದು ಆದರೆ ಆಂಗ್ಲವನ್ನು ಓದಿ ಅರ್ಥಮಾಡಿಕೊಳ್ಳುವು ಕಷ್ಟಸಾಧ್ಯವಾಗಿದೆ.

    ಆಂಗ್ಲದಲ್ಲಿ ಬರೆಯುವುದರಿಂದ ಹೆಚ್ಚಿನ ಜನರನ್ನು ತಲುಪಬಹುದು ಮತ್ತು ಅದು ಸರಿ ಕೂಡ ಎನಿಸುತ್ತದೆ…
    ತಮ್ಮಲ್ಲಿ ವಿನಂತಿಸುವುದೇನೆಂದರೆ, ಕನ್ನಡದಲ್ಲಿ ಬರೆಯುವುದನ್ನು ತಾವು ನಿಲ್ಲಿಸಬಾರದೆಂದು ವಿನಂತಿಸುತ್ತೇನೆ…

    ತಮ್ಮ ಅಭಿಮಾನಿ…
    ಗಜೇಂದ್ರಕುಮಾರ್. ಎಂ.

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